Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tombstone Tea

Dahme, Joanne. Tombstone Tea. Philadelphia : RP Teens, 2009.  ISBN:  9780762437184. $16.95.
(Image Credit: Cape May County Library)

Laurel Hill Cemetery sits high above the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It contains thousands of graves, including some of Philadelphia's most prestigious and famous residents.  But not of Laurel Hill Cemetery's residents stay in the ground.  In fact, many of them are not ready to cross over to the other side and would rather remain dwelling within the well-kept grounds of Laurel Hill.   

Jessie is new to Phildelphia.  She's attending Laurel Hill Charter High School and she doesn't know a single student.  Feeling like a complete outsider and lonely, Jessie decides to take up a dare from three of the school's most popular girls.  She must spend a night in Laurel Hill Cemetery.  Jessie sees the dare as an oppertunity to find some friends as well as explore a new place.  What Jessie doesn't know, yet, is that she won't be the only being roaming the cemetery that night.
During her night at Laurel Hill, Jessie meets Paul and he guides her around the cemetery.  He also informs her that she has chosen the perfect night to visit the cemetery.  Tonight there is a Tombstone Tea.  Jessie soon finds herself mixed up in a world tangled between the past and present, with both the living and the dead.

However, Jessie also discovers something that she has known, but ignored for a long time.  She is a spiritualist, someone who can communicate with the dead.  When she meets Paul, a current and former employee of Laurel Hill Cemetery, she begins to understand her ability.  She is soon confronted by the wrath of Jenny, the angry spirit of a woman who is desperately seeking her long-lost daughter.  Paul and Jessie, along with some of the cemetery's ghostly residents must combine forces to fight Jenny's powerful rage, before Jessie becomes overtaken by the spirit world.   Is Jessie strong enough to overtake Jenny and unite a broken and painful past that keeps her from moving on? If she is able to do so, Jessie will need to count on the assistance of the other ghosts that remain in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Joanne Dahme has also written The Plague and Creepers.

Tombstone Tea has been in both Publishers Weekly Review and Booklist Review.